This is the Mark VIII Ford Transit, the pinnacle of the light commercial vehicle world, one many other manufacturers including Renault, Vauxhall and Nissan have all tried to overcome. The 'two-tonne' van sits atop a range that also includes - in descending size - the Transit Custom, Transit Connect, and the Transit Courier.
Ford has timed the launch of its largest model perfectly: the commercial vehicle market has emerged from recession-led gloom and is growing at an impressive rate. The new van, says Ford, has what it takes to keep it at the top of the sales charts.
To put the Transit’s nameplate’s significance to Ford into context, only the Fiesta and Focus shift in greater numbers. Combine the sales figures for Transit Custom and Connect and you have the sixth biggest-selling nameplate. More than the BMW 3 Series, and in 2013, just 600 behind the Volkswagen Golf.
This latest version of the Transit has been designed and engineered in Ford’s Dunton engineering centre and its engines are built in Dagenham.
This version will be the first time a Transit has been sold in North America, where it replaces the iconic, but woefully inefficient E-series – which helps explain the Americanised styling of the new Transit. In total, it will sell in 118 markets across six continents.
Taking in van, chassis cab, bus variants, multiple wheelbases, roof heights, engine outputs and front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive configurations and you’re left with a bewildering range of some 450 variants.
The two-tonne panel vans and Chassis Cabs all use the same 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, in three power outputs, with a six-speed manual gearbox. The Transit Custom is available with a smaller capacity 2.0-litre oilburner in three different outputs. The Custom again comes in various sizes, lengths and configuration, but also offers for those tradesman looking for a bit more stand-out appeal the Transit Sport.
The smaller Connect and Courier engine range is predominantly dominated by 1.5-litre diesel units, however they can also be had with Ford's 99bhp 1.0-litre, three-cylinder Ecoboost engine too.
The panel van which we tested recorded a gross vehicle mass of up to 3.5 tonnes, and cargo capacity - up to 2.3 tonnes depending on model - has increased by up to 11 percent over the old model.